Episode 3 of the second half of Season 6 may have gotten off to a slow start, especially after a very mellow Episode 2, but what little action we got was more than enough to make it a stand out.

For one thing, we got to see more of Jesus, who’s turning out to be one of the most engaging characters on the show. Seriously, how cool is this guy? If there’s one gripe I can come up with, it’s the fact that every time I say something positive about him, I sound like a freaking Bible thumper.

Only two episodes into Jesus’ story arc and he’s already proven to be quite sincere and trustworthy, not to mention a smooth talker and very skilled pickpocket, escape artist and martial arts expert. Even though Abraham won the best line of the episode award with his breakfast-related double entendre (I’ll never quite look at pancakes the same way ever again!), Jesus’ “I’m waiting for your mom and dad to get dressed” line to Carl was pure gold.

He not only manages to sneak around Alexandria and smugly show off to the group, giving them a brief synopsis of everything he found out about them before Daryl & Co even knew he had escaped, but he also delivers on a promise that carried a fair bit of impact: their world was about to get much, much bigger. And it absolutely did.

A few random notes about what transpired in the episode:

  • Rick and the rest of the group were much less distrustful of Jesus than they were of Aaron when he made his first appearance. Aaron offered them water when they were parched on the road, baby food for Judith and photos of Alexandria and that earned him a knock-out punch, courtesy of Rick. Jesus stole their truck full of supplies and they were all pretty quick to believe him – at least enough to let him lead them to his community. True, their circumstances have changed significantly since they were starving and homeless before they got to Alexandria, but it does reek of double standards, doesn’t it? Maybe it has to do with Jesus’ undeniable charms, although Aaron’s clean cup appearance and instant likability were off the charts, too. Or maybe it’s just because his name is Jesus.
  • How cool was everyone’s (non) reaction when they saw a semi-dressed Rick and Michonne emerge from the upstairs bedroom? One minute Abraham, Daryl and the rest of the group are barging into Rick’s home following the escapee, and the next they’re in the middle of an embarrassing scene straight out of a rom-com. Yes, the two best friends finally realized they should hook up, and our group is all “Whaa?” and then “Oh yeah, totally makes sense” in the space of a few seconds.
  • Speaking of reactions, I loved the Rick/Carl moment. Could Carl be transforming from that annoying kid everyone wished would be killed off to one of the most solid characters on the show in the last couple of seasons? Not only does he make the totally adult, sensible choice of staying back with Judith instead of joining in the expedition (and how heartbreaking was his comment about his “messed up face”, by the way?), but he’s also super chill about the Richonne situation. I really wanted Rick to give him a big hug before he took off, but it was still a nice moment.
  • Jesus had already pretty much proven he was cool before they even got on the RV, seeing as he could have stolen the Alexandrians’ guns and killed them all in their sleep, but what solidified him as a good guy for me was his reaction to his own men being in peril when they saw the car accident on their way to Hilltop.
  • After our group saves the day, we get to meet yet another likable Hilltop character: Dr. Harlan seems like a pretty decent guy already. Either it’s perfectly good casting and writing on the show’s part, or I’m just desperate to believe there are other good people out there besides Rick and the rest of our protagonists. If Negan is indeed as horrible as everyone makes him out to be, we need all the good guys we can get to counterbalance the evil.
  • The hilltop guards have custom made spears. Is this TWD or Game of Thrones? Loving it.
  • So Jesus is the scout for Hilltop, and their leader is Gregory… who’s the biggest douche on the show since Michonne ran her katana through Ron. Seriously, this guy sucks. Jesus quickly admitting that Gregory is a dick is yet another point in J’s favor.
  • I would have thought it took a lot of restraint for Rick to send Maggie in to handle the negotiations with the douche, but the way it played out it didn’t really seem like a big deal to him to relinquish control. Good to know he’s trying to dial down the Ricktatorship and recognize his weaknesses.
  • I know Deanna was grooming Maggie for a ‘political’ career in Alexandria (and it also makes sense to have a pregnant lady holding down the fort instead of out in the field), but we haven’t really seen much of a display of leadership skills on Maggie’s part so far. That’s not to say she doesn’t possess the abilities, but it would have been nice if the show had fleshed it out a little more. Either way, despite a slow start, she handles Gregory Douche brilliantly. And she doesn’t even need to punch him in the face, which Rick would probably have done within the first 5” of their conversation, so good call, Rick.
  • By the way, calling someone by the wrong name is such a dick move, but the whole Maggie/Natalie thing totally reminded me of Friends so I was actually giggling during that whole scene.
  • Is there any instance on this show where Rick doesn’t get someone’s blood on him within minutes of walking into a new place or making someone’s acquaintance? Not that what’s-his-name didn’t deserve a knife in the neck. Points to Rick for jumping to Gregory’s defense even though he’s such an enormous douche, too. And extra points to Michonne for defending her man. This (and the hand-holding) in the RV made me go ‘aaaw’, which is quite a feat when you’re watching people getting stabbed and beaten.
  • Similarly, Rick’s monosyllabic response to everyone’s reaction as he was standing there, drenched in blood, after the fight with what’s-his-name, Craig’s brother with the man bun, was absolutely hilarious. What? Oh, Rick.
  • The dead guy was a coward and Negan is awful, but what about the rest of the Hilltop people? No one jumps to their leader’s defense except for the Alexandrians, not even Jesus. Is it because he knew Rick and co. had it covered, or because he wouldn’t mind losing the douchey Master of the Mansion? In either case, he did manage to quickly appease both sides before things escalated, which makes me doubt the Hilltoppers’ judgement: this guy is obviously the whole package, so why haven’t they voted him in as their leader yet? (on the other hand, I get why being second in command might be a better fit for Jesus).
  • Maggie manages to negotiate a pretty sweet deal in terms of what they have to gain, but she seems to have her doubts, at least initially, as far as what it’s going to cost them. So far we’ve seen our group defend themselves against attackers, we’ve seen them wage war, and they’ve pretty much proven that, unlike Hilltop, they can handle confrontation. In fact, they seem to thrive on it. Rick obviously jumps at the idea, Michonne is right by his side, and Daryl looks pretty eager to take out Negan’s people, after his previous experience with Wade and his men, as I’m assuming is Abraham (and Sasha). Even pacifist Glenn is on board, and at this point there’s no doubt Carol is as well – I pretty much expected her to jump in and volunteer to take Negan out single-handedly. So why this group display of aggression at this point on the show, just when Rick started to soften up a little bit? Obviously they all recognize that Negan is the next big threat they should be concerned with, but they’ve never really been proactive like that before. Then again, they’ve never really felt this secure before – except during the days of Farmer Rick at the prison; the exception being that now is really the first time since the world ended that they can finally see a glimmer of hope for the future. So even though the deal they strike with Gregory seems a bit extreme at first glance, I totally buy it.
  • Also totally expected: judging from his sourpus face, Morgan doesn’t like this plan at all, and his whole ‘all life is precious’ thing is getting old. Eastman’s mantra was perfectly fine and dandy for a loner living in a remote cabin, but in a community that’s constantly under attack it’s really a no brainer. His little experiment with the Wolf didn’t really yield any results – if anything, Denise got through to him much more than Morgan did. Give it up already, Aikido master.
  • Even Gabriel seems less disgusted with the idea, after his hero moment in the mid-season premiere. Morgan is free to leave as far as I’m concerned. He’s been more trouble than he’s worth so far. Unless Carol (or someone with a gentler touch) can de-Eastman-ize him, and soon, I wouldn’t mind seeing Morgan go at this point.
  • Which brings me to the side story in Knots Untie: what the hell is going on with Abraham? Although two months have passed since he basically put the moves on Sasha, he’s still with Rosita, who seems to be very much in love with him. Sasha, on the other hand, just switched shifts with Eugene, so whatever time those two spent together (and whatever they did during that time), either Sasha is done waiting for Abraham to break the love triangle or she’s just not that into him. All the one-liners in the world, ugglin’ bumplies included, won’t save him from the two beautiful, fierce women if he screws around on them.Either way, dude needs to make up his mind – and his talk with Glenn and Daryl seems to suggest that he has. It’s unclear which direction he’s choosing to go, but if we’re supposed to heed symbolism, the brake-light necklace Rosita gave him left lying on the ground is a pretty good indication.
  • Still, his love life aside, Abraham seems quite forlorn in this episode. I watched his scenes with dread, as having a character appear hopeful about the future is usually this show’s way of letting us know their fate is sealed. I basically screamed at my screen when he was looking for Jesus’ people in that dark hallway. I really thought it was bye-bye Abraham at that point. Thankfully, he was spared, but I can’t shake the feeling that he won’t survive Season 6.
  • There’s been a lot of talk going around about who out of our OG group will be the first to clock out this season courtesy of Negan and his baseball bat, and Daryl’s name has been floating around quite a bit, as has Glenn’s, to a lesser extent – you don’t bring a guy back from the dead only to kill him off 8 episodes later, except apparently comic book readers seem sure he’s pretty much a goner. Thing is, as much as people were on the verge or rioting after Thank You, Daryl fans would go absolutely berserk if Mr. Dixon gets killed off. Even Gimple and co. don’t have the balls to do that just yet, do they? Nah, I think Daryl’s safe for now. If anything, he needs to have a romantic story arc before he’s offed. All the focus on Abraham this episode makes me a bit suspicious, and if they really want to break our hearts in the finale, they could easily kill off the beautiful pregnant lady who almost lost her husband a few weeks ago. Michonne also looks like a possibility, based on the history of Rick’s love interests so far, but I refuse to believe they’d do that so soon. So for what it’s worth, at this point in the season, my money’s on Abraham and/or either Glenn or Maggie. (And I really, really hope I’m wrong.)